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‘Make hay while the sun shines’ so goes the old saw. For a plant it is just vital to photosynthesize while the sun is up.

A plant in terms of nature holds similarities with man in that it has adapted for its stationary position. Consequentially roots, leaves instead of fingers are required to multi-task.
Water is drawn from soil and sent along the trunk, by means of capillary action. A stream goes the crown and also goes down like human circulatory system. In this we need to consider the mysterious cases of trees bleeding, redness which has nothing to do with actual blood our vessels carry.
Thrift is a human character which in case of plants is sending the sap to its roots before winter sleep. Of course a plant has no bank account but before winter a plant will send unwanted sap to its roots. How easy it is to distinguish a man according to his wealth in the bling bling he can afford. Of course no man has excelled in the sheer exuberance and fulness of red gold livery each tree can put out to show it has taken care of its surplus.
As David Attenborough in his popular BBC program The Life of Plants says, “”To find water a plant has to position its roots with just as much precision as it arranges its leaves… If moisture is in very short supply, it may have to drive a tap root deep into the ground to reach the water table.” Some desert plants may develop root systems that are far deeper than they are tall and extend laterally. Even if the environment is well-watered, a plant may still need to compete…, so it positions a network of roots closer to soil surface so when rain falls they could have the first fill.”In its farsightedness not to miss the action when it comes reveal nature has compensated life forms adequately and survival depends not so much as the outcome of a decisive battle where casualties exceeds millions and many more wounded or maimed in actions. Whether such strategy of nano corrections steadily applied to maximize the gains from changes in environment is more effective than of man whose policies run a gamut of feigned friendliness, treaties and cultural exchanges between peoples with intent to destabilize one another and saber rattling and conflict? Man’s outlay in achieving efficiency is with an eye to his complex social life where profits at the cost of decimating one another must percolate from nation building to line the pockets of those who thrive in conflicts.
Plants are no different in their needs, but being immobile their defenses tend to take a different form than they do in animals.
Plant defenses are grouped into three broad categories: chemical, physical, and co-optive.
In chemical defense plants may produce toxins and with pungent aromas, for example, poison ivy.What is repellant to other animals and meant as chemical defenses we consume with great relish, many of our foods and spices.Physical defenses are the most obvious to us, especially when they come in the form of thorns and barbs. Plants may defend itself by co-opting animals for defense. Ants are probably the animal most often co-opted by plants. Like humans, plants can manipulate-,via bribes, misrepresentation orchids tricking bees into trying to mate with the flowers is an example.

<(Ack: writing for nature. wordpress.com/2013/12/03/plant-defenses-myriad-strategies)

benny

 

 

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While we study of human origins two main theories emerge to explain the archaeological and fossil record: one, known as the multi-regional hypothesis, suggested that a species of human ancestor dispersed throughout the globe, and modern humans evolved from this predecessor in several different locations. The other, out-of-Africa theory, held that modern humans evolved in Africa for many thousands of years before they spread throughout the rest of the world. DNA evidence suggests the original exodus involved anywhere from 1,000 to 50,000 people. 

The departure point, but most now appear to be leaning away from the Sinai, once the favored location, and toward a land bridge crossing what today is the Bab el Mandeb Strait separating Djibouti from the Arabian Peninsula at the southern end of the Red Sea. From there, the thinking goes, migrants could have followed a southern route eastward along the coast of the Indian Ocean. “It could have been almost accidental,” Christopher Henshilwood(an archaeologist at Norway’s University of Bergen) says, “a path of least resistance that did not require adaptations to different climates, topographies or diet. The migrants’ path never veered far from the sea, departed from warm weather or failed to provide familiar food, such as shellfish and tropical fruit.”

In the 1980s, new tools completely changed the kinds of questions that scientists could answer about the past. By analyzing DNA in living human populations, geneticists could trace lineages backward in time. These analyses have provided key support for the out-of-Africa theory. Homo sapiens, this new evidence has repeatedly shown, evolved in Africa, probably around 200,000 years ago. 

How did life rise and what influences went into peopling of the earth are beyond the scope of this essay. Here my intention is to draw some parallels in the nature’s way of ensuring safety in serving the earth already teeming with myriad forms of life. Nature in handling life seems to show all coincidences or chance must serve the whole so there is an element of certainty. The certainty underpins the truth of Natural selection as well as paraphrases  history of human species into Integration Principle. 

The evolution of the earth as a habitable planet gave rise to its atmosphere with its protective layer so harmful ultraviolet rays shall not enter. This broad division of earth into landmass, oceans and atmosphere carries differences in various ways in each and functions also are distinct from one another. Despite of such variations Integration principle builds the entire earth as one indivisible unit.

In order to understand its implications ask ourselves this question. If global warming were to make life on most parts of the earth impossible what shall we blame: North, South or the Third World countries?

Whatever happens on one part affects us all. Nature has spread various safeguards to minimize a single catastrophe annihilating entire life forms. 

 

Web of life is one such safety net for life forms to make their gains more durable. It also supports dissemination of  knowledge and ideas.

Of many skills technology in particular would make human migration tantamount to creating highways of knowledge. Discovery of fire by man some 500,000 years ago allowed man to migrate to colder regions during periods of drought and famine. Such changes in terms of climate have become less disastrous because man had acquired wherewithal owing to long periods of stability. Fire made cooking possible and also became more varied and sophisticated.

Advance in one direction creates man off-shoots: Those city-states in the Fertile Crescent, including the Babylonian and Assyrian empires relying on easy availability of food  have had leisure and the means to explore other avenues to fill in their time. Writing must have opened up a whole new horizon by which civilizations could leave valuable information for future generations. The many nodes of human civilizations set on various geographical locations work in tandem to spread around the good and evil inherent in the human achievements. There were indigenous peoples in the New World at the time the Pilgrim Fathers arrived, and were descendents of waves of migration going as far as 40,000 years ago. After the arrival of Europeans many millions died from epidemics of diseases such as smallpox imported to their shores. 

Volcanic eruptions and tsunami have wiped out civilizations and one such catastrophe might explain the fabled story of Atlantis.  In the modern era, geologic and archeological investigations hint at an intriguing possibility — that the demise of Atlantis may be related to a catastrophic Bronze Age eruption in the Aegean Sea, which destroyed an advanced Minoan civilization living on the island group of Santorini. Be that as it may we hear about the civilization of  Greece coming into focus following this event.  History of Europe as a result would never be the same. What is certain is that a sudden catastrophe brings an entire civilization down and the shockwaves of it impact some other culture on the rise to give a kickstart.

How  valid would be for native Americans to claim Americas exclusively considering they replaced peoples living before as they were subjugated by White settlers from Europe?

It is a truism that Nature does not put all her eggs in one basket. Muslims in the Palestine claiming the land as theirs have as much validity as the Jews. Now the state of Israel has its writ run in the territories held by it after the 1967 war. It is a certainty as long as it can keep it.

Nature showed its intent and if people cannot accept it for the peace and safety of all concerned, something has to give away. It may be unnatural in its resolution, something of a chance but certainty shall be yet another,- history of which is anyone’s guess.(ack:Guy Gugliotta-Smithsonian Magazine 2008)

benny

 

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A party with a real issue problem finds extremism a useful ally especially when the real crunch of an election is in the offing. It must convert the political ideas already in the mainstream nto votes. Nothing else is tangible than the numbers. It was so with the US elections in 1964  when the US senator from Arizona chose to take on Lyndon Johnson. For this occasion what Barry Goldwater did was to galvanize southern and western Republican support while neglecting the industrial northern states. What good or reasonable was to play off the old bogey a century later? But the GOP quietly swallowed it since the North-South divide resonated still. Thus the Republican party by elevating extremism to the level of serious discussion made the old bad ideas morph into new areas. This is what happened when Mitt Romney chose Paul Ryan as his running mate in 2012. It was a sign that Ayn Rand extremism was now respectable in the Republican Party and a continuation of the radicalization process begun much earlier. What was the extremism in the philosophy of Ayn Rand that gave the party a new lease?

Remember we are dealing with the times in which the richest 1% of Americans had 40% of the nation’s wealth and by offshore tax loopholes the Fat cats were avoiding tax to the states and so on.

Now what Ayn Rand’s philosophy amounted to this: the greatest good a society can nurture is a sociopath whose go-getter, get rich at any means made the nations move with purpose.  As political ideology it in a way laid the axe at the base of a political community as a meaningful entity.  A more telling commentary of the distaste shown by the right-wing elites for the working poor cannot be drawn than in Romney’s 47 percent comment. It was disastrous error for Mitt and it’s impulse came from Randism that the right-wingers had embraced as  their Bible.

 As Rogers at Kung Fu Monkey wrote in Ephemera 2009 (7) 03/19/2009: There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and [Ayn Rand’s] Atlas Shrugged.

 

In order to trace Ayn Rand’s philosophical justification for this kind of attitude one need to go to her background. ‘ Ayn Rand, in her notebooks, worshiped a notorious serial murderer-dismemberer, and used this killer as an early model for the type of “ideal man” that Rand promoted in her more famous books — ideas which were later picked up on and put into play by major right-wing figures of the past half decade, including the key architects of America’s most recent economic catastrophe — former Fed Chair Alan Greenspan and SEC Commissioner Chris Cox — along with other notable right-wing Republicans such as Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, Rush Limbaugh, Rep. Paul Ryan, and South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford.

The loudest of all the Republicans, right-wing attack-dog pundits and the Teabagger mobs fighting to kill health care reform and eviscerate “entitlement programs” increasingly hold up Ayn Rand as their guru. Sales of her books have soared in the past couple of years; one poll ranked “Atlas Shrugged” as the second most influential book of the 20th century, after The Bible

Rogers.’

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Rand’s 1974 speech at the United States Military Academy at West Point was entitled, “Philosophy — Who Needs It.”  Notice that this title is not posing a question.  Rand is telling you who needs philosophy: you do, and the students at West Point need it — in a pitched battle against ignorance, relativism, ideology, and absurdity that is every bit as vital as the one that these soldiers may one day wage with arms.

In Paul Kidder’s words, “But I must confess that I am somewhat sheepishly ungrateful for what Rand hath wrought.  Her watchwords are “reason,” “logic,” and “objectivity,” but when I scrutinize the ideas for which she has been most influential — her ideas on political economy — I find that they are logically fallacious to the point of unreason.”

The fallacy that is at the heart of Rand’s political-economic philosophy is the fallacy of mistaking a necessary condition for a sufficient condition.  This is elementary logic.  A necessary condition is something that is needed in order to make something else happen.  A plant must have water, for example, in order to thrive.  But a necessary condition is not the same as a sufficient condition — that is, something that provides everything needed for something else to happen.  Water is not sufficient to make a plant thrive. Other ingredients are needed, like soil and sunlight. 

Ayn Rand’s philosophy is above all a defense of the entrepreneur.  The economic value of goods and services that we find on the market is created by entrepreneurs — people who had the idea, pursued the vision, marshaled the resources, managed production, and shepherded products to market. Which is more important in a three legged stool: capital, labor and technology?

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How a species rephrase wisdom and power of nature is common shared experience. Man needs as much as birds or trees.

Plants convert necessary minerals from the soil and earthworms also are necessary players. Man may not ingest directly but via plants.

Interactions between species can lead to the evolution of interspecific non-verbal communication. Nature is for all species to thrive.

When Nature has created such a level playing field how can man claim any special claim?

Randian objectivism I find flawed. People who subscribe to it are those who take reality selectively: so has ostrich its objectivity.

Ack: The simplistic flaw in Ayn Rand’s philosophy- Paul Kidder Aug27,’12-http//:crosscut.com/politics)

benny

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Let us consider what is  Science. It is an enquiry into how our physical universe works. It includes the physical aspects of the inquirer vis-à-vis the universe without. Here Science must take the lead on facts that may come in the form of laws of nature. One such law states thus: energy can neither be created or destroyed. This leads us to think of every matter in a particular state handling energy. Change from one state to another is change in energy as well. Agitation of molecules causes heat and it is transferred. Water, ice and vapor are different states where energy necessarily forms a trade off. Energy like currency is transacted by matter.  Any life form handling energy at one level is purely explained by science and it is in terms of matter.
Matter has mass and it has specific relationship to energy as per Einstein’s famous equation. Energy as stated at the outset is cannot be destroyed or created. Man who professes any religion therefore is part and parcel of that constant represented by energy.

Now looking at religion we may conclude there is no religion separated from energy. This applies to the physical make up of one believer or a church.In a church several like-minded persons pool their energy for a purpose. This energy may be used for noble and ignoble purposes. What is religion but a moral centre upon which each believer makes his reality count?  I need not worry unduly if some TV preacher uses his reality to amass worldly riches and make the word of God to none effect. Do I compromise my moral being by having a part in his actions? Am I so indifferent to what I have understood as my right to a reality? Should I compromise my energy knowing the church is more a den of iniquity and waste my energy therein? Each of us as rational beings owes to give good account of the way we direct our lives.

If quantum mechanics gives an entirely different way matter behaves at minutest levels we may be sure Science is not everything open and shut. Neither would the  moral universe behave in the manner we rationally explain religion.

Spooky Science:

One of the strangest predictions of the theory of quantum mechanics is that particles can become “entangled” so that even after they are separated in space, when an action is performed on one particle, the other particle responds immediately. How shall we explain this in our moral universe?I shall come to it by and by.

In June 2009 scientists announced they had measured entanglement in a new kind of system – two separated pairs of vibrating particles. Previous experiments had entangled the internal properties of particles, such as spin states, but this was the first time scientists had entangled the particles’ pattern of motion, which is a system that resembles the larger, everyday world. Chain of events any of us sets off will create sympathetic wave of chains where both chain of events are separated in space. This action may have begun on bad motives and may at some point leave some good for some and create ill-will for many other. What I want to say is this: there is no need of a divine Being being present to give everyman his due good for good or vice versa. These chains of events shall keep history of  man  moving and it belongs to the moral universe. Where man acts merely to gain some immediate advantage over another but give advantage quite unexpectedly to some one else. Man who defrauds another will sooner or later is caught in a sticky mess from which he shall not escape so easily. These could go on and on.

benny

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Evolution gave man a brain where nerve nets of jellyfish and brain of lizards served as the basis. These were set some 600 million years ago and our ape-ancestors who later peopled the earth did not have a brain that could be said as state of the art. It would take millennia in terms of evolutionary timescale a wink so to speak. So the civilization that we take pride in has been with a back up from many other species. Brain is still evolving and it shall indeed the case whether we colonize the moon or some super-earths some light years away. This being the case what prompted him to this grand vision of a civilized world? Tool making capacity determined man’s progress.

March of progress worked on two speeds. A solution based technology that took care of his specific needs and it allowed no delay. While his brain developed on the slow lane as with all events in evolutionary timescale he set about creating his world in his image. If our civilization has shown several cracks the blame for this must be in the variable speeds. It is more soulless mechanics of supply and demand, time and motion and many other exercises in futility that guide us. Consider how this has blighted our parenting skills? How shall not a man fail if his one leg were to shoot up faster than the other one? We seems blissfully unaware of our human side that needs time as a child requires time to mature. His brain develops quickly around three till he is six. But it would take some 20 years for all the brain circuits to be fixed. He is considered fully mature and responsible by the age of twenty. Technology has won us over to do its bidding and we aren’t even conscious what we have sacrificed to appease a monster. Our best part, our wealth in compassion and altruism is being chipped away steadily. All because we have failed to negotiate the two speeds that make up our existence. In missing the cue of variable speeds whatever we have touched has come with its downside. Man left arboreal living to build cities and also created slums and inner cities.

Consider man in relation to all other species. A shrew has heart beats so fast that a whale must consider it as impossible. Nature has allowed both to develop according to their biology and evolutionary demands. Nature of lions is affected by their physiology. So their predatory behavior has to account for it. With relatively small hearts and lungs they are not fast runners; a maximum speed of 60 kph, nor do they have the stamina to keep this pace for more than a 100 – 200m. As such, lions rely on stalking their prey and seldom charge until they are within 30m, unless the prey is facing away and cannot see the charge. Why did lions become the only sociable cat? Is it because they would have higher success rate if they hunted in groups?
Only man seems to have missed this curious fact. His inability to develop all round by his technology may be compensated by pooling life experience of all and old and present. If one were to look closely there is a running thread that makes us connected with our environment and all life forms. Instead we have degraded the earth all for profit. The very idea of things motivating man is derived from technology. As John Ruskin so eloquently puts it,’There is no wealth but life.’ Our reliance on technology is a case of progress being derailed. Technology is power; accumulation of material wealth by technology has created fragmentation of the world into different blocks. Wars had never been the solution but still man relies on it . Why? Both technology and war acts as one. It is a Geiger counter to detect and ferret out more wealth. This must explain the present human predicament.
Peter Pan never grew up. Perhaps he could serve as a timely warning, a metaphor: He shall grow old only in terms of exigencies of Nature. Never-never land is a place where nothing grows but according to the slow speed of evolution and he shall ever be vital and clear-eyed since he is in step to a different drummer than we do.
benny

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Man, His Fame – essay
U.S Presidents

Nothing ever remains static: the face of the earth changes with seasons and continental shelves move. Such changes take place in matter of time and it goes without saying man is of no exception.Consequently his hopes, fears,- and his glory also vanishes.
Where does that leave those who walked the earth as Colossus? Oh no these days we have US Presidents who may catch media attention even if they just had the most prosaic surgical procedures. I remember Nixon and Lyndon Johnson in this regard. Nixon’s clot (phlebitis, I think it was called) was serious as the appendicitis of the latter. After all the entire nation’s thoughts revolve about them. Every day of their four year term. Whatever they do or say creates plenty of media interest. Their days in office must be seen by all recalling the days when the entire French court watched the Sun King waking up from his ornate bed in Versailles.
What with the mass media and TV we have become a visual generation. Recalling the Andy Warhol quote each of us holds the right to fame though it may be for some fifteen minutes. It may be through reality shows or as a witness in TV coverage for 6 o’clock news. Television has killed the art of conversation and instead we have talking heads whose style and contents are what matter for the ratings. Yes fifteen minutes of fame is enough for the audience whose attention span is correspondingly becoming shorter.
Looking at the appeal of the US Presidents history judges them, as tastes govern the appeal of fashion art and literature.
The Presidency of Andrew Jackson (1829-37) has undergone swings in popularity. Jackson presided over American expansion as well as subjugated the American Indians. The New Englanders and the Eastern gentry despised him as a frontiersman and a dangerous demagogue about money and banking. The historians of the early 20th century saw him as a democratic hero, coming out of the West to fight the moneyed Eastern interests.
Thomas Jefferson is another. Jefferson, had his bitter critics to whom he was ‘Mad Tom’. Of his prodigious mind and its wide sweep no one had doubts. John F. Kennedy once invited a group of Nobel Prize winners to the Executive mansion and said thus: ‘the most extraordinary collection of talent… that has ever been gathered together at the White House-with the possible exception of when Thomas Jefferson dined alone.’ His personal stature or his qualities are not what makes his relevance count. His policies or what he stands for must mesh with the mood of the times like teeth of gears so history on its march keeps his relevance as obvious. No president or king is as relevant as to be in step with mood of the times all the time.
Thus presidents out of office have remaining years to live in the past or setting up a library to keep posterity guessing. Was he the wrong man for the best of times or the right man for the dangerous times? Hope has nothing to do once the reality kicks in.
Ronald Reagan came to power on the belief ‘Politics is just like show business. You have hell of an opening, coast for a while and then have hell of a close’. He edged out Jimmy Carter from the Presidential race with the promise of getting the nation out of depression. ‘I am speaking of depression in the human sense. A recession is when your neighbour is out of work. Recovery is when Carter is out of work.’ Reagan was elected the President. His covert interference in Afghanistan to arm the mujaheddin and break the back of the Soviets seemed to succeed. History however shows its terrible consequences even this day. As for his economic policies paved the way for the economic meltdown and recession of 2008. The presidency of George Bush Sr. was colourless but his rating has risen against the backdrop of Presidents who succeeded him to the office.
Power is always a potent tool in the hands of a President in the US or anywhere else to shape destinies of people; and politics is the means to get the policies across but then they are on their own.
Now another Presidential election is around the corner. The somber mood of the US economy cannot be as easily replaced as hopes of man on the street at flurry of activities that the election day entails. For him a change means a change in his fortunes in the matter he blindly takes the cues from the mood of people about him. Scaremongering and mudslinging are part of making the voter change his mind in favor of one candidate over the other. Romney is yet give a single concrete workable plan to make him credible but election fever when it gets going creates its own rationale. It is democracy and scaremongering, half-truths might prevent the voter think for himself and the most undeserving might be elected or the best candidate may be left by the wayside.
Money plays a large part and special interest groups are already in the fray placing bets and they must have covered all eventualities. Another way to get votes is to give style than substance as Reagan did so well. Romney’s heart as he claims is all for America, notwithstanding his 47 percent claims. His feisty debate seems to have gone well with his backers. He is all things for everyone. What if he wins the election? He may on the job find some policies that can heal the polarized nation. Who can tell? One advantage the Presidential hopeful is that he is new and untested for the office. Democracy is in practice is triumph of hope over reality. In Romney’s favor this must be said, he might make good or dash the hopes of the nation just as Bush Jr. did. In the case of Harry Truman no one expected much but in retrospect his character and decisions he took while in charge make him more than a middling President.
Economic recovery takes time and the new President-elect may take the credit of it unjustly in most cases, but it is fruit of his success anyway. If Barack Obama can keep the Presidency for a second term he would have hell of catching up to do to take the credit of an economic boom undeniably fixed to his Presidency.
(Ack: Hedley Donovan-Time/essay Nov 9,1981)
benny

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Su Shi (1036-1101) who called himself Su Tungpo is considered by common consent as one of the greatest Chinese poets. Having displeased the emperor he was under detention at Huangchow. Another time he served his time on the island of Hainan. ‘What good is for a cricket to protest against the might of the moon?’ Many of his contemporaries thought so. They wished he would accept things as they are. His protest against the custom of drowning of the girl babies was so effective that when he left Huangchow the grateful parents lined up the village streets with tears in their eyes and babies in their arms whose very lives had been saved by his efforts. With many fools around we need to do what is reasonable under the cirumstances and leave it at that.
Each of us has a certain view. You and I have been set into a certain direction by forces that are beyond us. One being born to a family of devout Christians may have drawn moral values that are compatible with Christian traditions and it is a virtue you have accepted as an ideal. If it is the case you need to accept another shall have the freedom to set his own ideals. If such ideas are combined together the world must prove to be set firm on moral values where different religions and practices only underline certain shades more than another. How come then we see the world of chaos and not of any order? Think of a pendulum swinging steadily at a certain pace that we may speak of it as divine order. Suppose we connect a second pendulum to it. It is demonstrated that the second one soon falls out of the regularity of the first.
This is how we may explain man’s moral sense falling out of step with that of divine moral order.
If there is no such thing as a divine Order we might consign every god, Allah, Jehovah, God as not worth the candle one lights in reverence. God unjust? It is impossible. Does God sets out to settle our personal errors and put us back into working order, individually? I do not think so. God made this earth to be inhabited and expects man to set his own house in order in fellowship with all. The moral order that is inherent in so many working with a common purpose creates its own order and it is representational. For example human laws are derived in the manner man has paraphrased divine law to be just and equitable.

Why cannot man be equal to the task? If there are natural laws there must be an order that gives Nature it force and authority. Since we are all humans and given a finite time frame to understand why such and such events take place it is therefore excusable to draw a moral purpose to which human laws may do. It represents divine law. Law is represented holding a double edged sword. Law must serve justice as well mercy.
All we could do is to do what is proper and right, everything being secondary to the humanness that describes you and me. If we frame laws Justice is tempered with Mercy since we know to be human is to err. We who are wise are connected to foolish and if we were to pay the fools by the same coin we are also setting the course for error. Of this I shall write in another post.
benny

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